Archive for the ‘Aircraft’ Category

9
Apr

Air Superiority…Since 1974

   Posted by: John

I must be slacking. I did not know that the F-16 Fighting Falcon was still in production.  But it is!  This aircraft, designed and originally built by General Dynamics first flew in 1974 and since then 4,500 have been built, with production still going.  That’s nearly 40 years! 

It just proves the point that well designed and well built things will serve their purpose well, now and for a long time.

17
Jan

Douglas DC-6

   Posted by: John

In the 1930s and 40s, the Douglas Aircraft Company was well known for building multi-engine commercial airplanes.  The twin-engine DC-1 first flew in 1933, followed by the DC-2 the year after.  The famous DC-3, launched in 1936, was built by the thousands (with many going to the military as the C-47), and several hundred are still flown around the world today.

In 1942, Douglas started building the DC-4, a four engine aircraft, capable of higher speed and payload.  This developed into the DC-6, first flown in 1946. 

The DC series aircraft were known for their comfort, reliability and being fairly easy to fly.  This video is of Air Atlantique’s DC-6, tail number G-SIXC.  It is no longer flying, having been converted into a grounded diner in 2011.  Turn up the sound…there is nothing in the world like the bass rumble of big radial engines!

12
Sep

At the Edge of Space

   Posted by: John

A couple of days ago I came across this video.  It’s the conclusion of a documentary that James May did for the BBC called “James May At The Edge Of Space”.  James is a journalist and presenter for various BBC productions.

In this video James is a passenger in a Lockheed U-2 spy plane being flown by Major John “Cabi” Cabigas.  The U-2 was first flown in 1955, and it is still in use 56 years later.  It is designed to fly at about 450 mph at 70,000 feet and has a range of over 6000 miles.  At that altitude, the plane is above 95% of the atmosphere.  Awesome music to this.

In case you are wondering, yes they use chase cars when the aircraft takes off and lands.  The plane is very difficult to handle when landing.  People in the chase cars tell the pilot how far off the ground he is and the plane has to be literally stalled before it will land.

22
Jun

Thank you for flying Warthog Air…

   Posted by: John

A-10 Thunderbolt

Yeah, it’s another aircraft post.  This one is the A-10 Thunderbolt.  It’s nickname is the Warthog.  I like Warthog better than Thunderbolt.  This is one of the few aircraft that was designed around a gun.  This gun, in fact. 

Gatling Gun

 Lest you think this gun doesn’t look all that big, here it is sitting next to a VW bug.

Not a small gun

A gun that size must shoot an incredibly large bullet, right?  Yes indeed!  This bad boy fires 30mm armor piercing shells.  Lots of them too, around 4200 per minute.  That’s 70 per second!  For comparison’s sake, here’s what a variety of “popular” rounds look like.  Compare your .308 Winchester to one the Warthog uses…it’s the one on the right.

Shell comparison

The whole point of this gun and plane combination is to kill tanks and other armored vehicles.  These planes do that with ease, and can take a horrific amount of damage and still fly.  We have a bunch of these that are always flying around Boise. 

Warthog Air

Personally, I like to think they designed the aircraft and thought they were done…then someone said “Oops, we forgot the engines!…No place else but right here!”  Not really, they are where they are for a reason, but it’s still fun to think and laugh about.

17
Jun

Heartache

   Posted by: John

Those who know me know that I love aircraft, particularly old aircraft.  Big piston radial engines turning big propellers…there just is no substitute for that sound.

There are not a lot of the old airplanes around any more, particularly ones that were built for war.  One of my favorites is the B-17 Flying Fortress

Liberty Belle Flying

Four 1200 horsepower engines, 104 foot wingspan, about 75 feet long, these planes could only carry 8,000 pounds of bombload for a short mission.  Cut that in half for longer ones. 

On June 13, the B-17 Liberty Belle caught fire shortly after takeoff and the pilot made a forced landing in a field.  All 7 people on board were uninjured, but fire destroyed the plane.

Liberty Belle Crash

This video is not the Liberty Belle, but captures the B-17 (as well as a B-25 Mitchell) in awesome footage over beautiful landscape.